Homeland Security Chairman: Confirm Security Officials
Reacting last night to the failed terrorist plot over Detroit, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) called on the Senate to confirm top officials for TSA and Customs and Border Patrol. Thompson, whose committee conducts oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, backed President Obama's call for a review of U.S. no-fly lists. Here's the statement he released:
"I stand with the President and his decision to review certain security measures following the December 25 attack. That review, coupled with the ongoing efforts of DHS and its federal partners, will result in a more secure homeland. As the President stated, we will use the vast resources of our federal government to disrupt, dismantle and defeat those who wish to do us harm.
"But in order to make this happen, there are a number of considerations that must be addressed. First, the TSA needs a permanent administrator. Erroll Southers, an experienced, highly-qualified nominee, continues to be held up in the Senate by someone who obviously puts process ahead of progress. If TSA is to become the kind of nimble, responsive organization the American people deserve in times like this, it will need a Senate-confirmed administrator. If nothing else, the events of last week highlighted this lack of leadership.
"Second, the events leading up to the December 25 attack underscore the key role that our Customs and Border Protection personnel play in helping to secure our homeland. That agency also deserves the benefit of having a full-time, Senate-confirmed leader. I urge a speedy confirmation.
"We must use technology that does what it promises and processes that make common sense. I urge the administration to work diplomatically with our foreign partners to ensure that the most effective technology is installed at airports worldwide. While I am convinced that we can accomplish the difficult task ahead, it will take the best effort of everyone involved."